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Let Your Imagination Take Off

A successful guerrilla marketing campaign takes effort, not cash.

Guerrilla marketing is often described as marketing using time, energy, imagination and information vs. your hard-earned profits. One of the key words in this definition is the word "imagination." I run across many people that hear the many stories about guerrilla tactics, and they always say "What a great imagination...That must be guerrilla marketing." To guerrilla marketers, that's music to their ears.

Using your imagination doesn't cost anything. True, it costs you a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears to get you to the point of being able to use your imagination based on your education and experiences, but no money is taken out of your checking account to pay for an imaginative idea.

Webster defines imagination as: "The ability to confront and deal with reality by using the creative power of the mind; resourcefulness; an unrealistic idea or notion; a fancy; a plan or scheme." Let's look at some unrealistic ideas or schemes that were hatched by a little bit of imagination:

  • I passed a realtor's sign the other day, and the agent's name was Lester. His website was www.lesterthelister.com. Sounds kind of corny, but it will get noticed, and people will remember it.
  • Henderson's Appliance Store in St. Louis was in business for more than 40 years and needed some revitalization. They had never had a tag line. Since they sold refrigerators, grills, washers and dryers, they dug deep on how they could convey to the marketplace what they really do. The resulting tag line now used in all their marketing is: "We cook it, we chill it, we clean it."
  • Here's one any company can use. Imagine (there's that word again) passing out fliers for your local high school football team's game with "Go Wildcats" (or whatever their mascot is) on one side. Can you imagine every fan standing up cheering and waving their free flier? On the reverse side, your logo and phone number appears. Every time the flier is displayed, the fan stares right at your company information. Sure, you have to pay to get the fliers printed, but in the total scheme of things, imagination is what generated awareness for the business on the reverse side. That's guerrilla marketing.

Sometimes imagination leads to outrageousness. That's OK. That's what gets noticed, and that's what gets remembered. Best of all--and consistent with guerrilla marketing--it usually doesn't cost a whole lot. Imagine (yes, I repeated it on purpose) a mailing that comes as a bank money bag, a printed paper bag or the lumpy mail pack that has a silver platter in it with a sales letter to correspond. These are all low-cost tactics that a customer and prospect will see and eventually act upon or remember.

As you can see, a creative idea can go a long way. People many times will talk about the cool idea more than the product, but of course the product is always mentioned. It's almost like people go around saying, "I wish I would have thought of that," and they start thinking of imaginative ideas for their products or services.

Brainstorm how you can use your imagination to market your product or service. As they say with anything related to your imagination, "You are only limited by your imagination."

Imagination doesn't cost anything; that's one of the primary components of guerrilla marketing. Imagination is one of those things that can make your marketing fun. Involve others. Involve customers and prospects. Break out of your typical mode of doing business. That will definitely get you noticed.

Put some energy and enthusiasm behind your idea, and you'll soon have your market talking about your imagination and, eventually, your products and services.

Al Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant and direct-mail promotion specialist. He's also the principle of Market For Profits, a Chicago-based marketing consulting firm. His two latest books, Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Days and The Ultimate Guide to Direct Marketing are available at www.entrepreneurpress.com.

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